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Pirates notebook: Liriano's struggles continue away from PNC Park

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 7:39 p.m.

• There's no place like home for Francisco Liriano, which makes securing home field important for the Pirates. They hold a one-game lead over the Reds for home-field advantage in the wild-card play-in game entering their key weekend series, which begins Friday in Cincinnati. Liriano left Wednesday's start at Wrigley Field with a 1.47 home ERA this season and a 4.32 road mark. For added context, his ERA is 193 percent higher on the road. For his career, Liriano has a 3.50 home ERA and a 4.83 road mark.

• Liriano allowed four runs in five-plus innings Wednesday, including a three-run home run to Darnell McDonald in what is expected to be Liriano's final regular-season start. “I don't change anything whether I'm at home or on the road,” Liriano said. “I don't try and do anything different.”

• Liriano is in line to start the Pirates' first postseason game. But perhaps Liriano's recent road woes will give Pirates manager Clint Hurdle pause if the Pirates are not at PNC Park to open the postseason.

• How much did the Pirates' miss Starling Marte's speed atop the lineup? The Pirates entered Wednesday with four steals in 10 attempts in September. Marte stole three bases Wednesday, giving him 40 this season. He is the first Pirate to reach 40 steals in a season since Tony Womack had 58 in 1998.

• Hurdle said Marte's ability to reach first base has improved: “There's been some better results, better swing paths.”

— Travis Sawchik

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